In Season 2 of The Sopranos, Christopher begins his ascent up the Soprano family "corporate" ladder by running (ruining?) a local stock brokerage for the sole purpose of artificially inflating the price of shares of some select companies (Webistics!). Along the way, he picks up a couple of flunkies who try to make their way up the Soprano family "corporate" ladder by capping Chrissy.
The two goofs, Matt Bevilaqua and Sean Gismonte (in case you're ever in a Sopranos "Geeks Who Drink" trivia contest), were unsuccessful in their hit, and Gismonte actually gets killed in the process, leaving Bevilaqua behind to deal with the wrath of Tony.
Tony Soprano, the boss at that point, out of a sheer thirst for revenge, did a very un-bosslike thing and executed the hit on Matt himself(with help from his buddy Big Pussy). Well, one eye witness later, Tony was dealing with the FBI on his doorstep and staring down the barrel of life in prison.
Tony managed to get off (oddly enough, the witness found exactly out who he was witnessing and contracted a case of selective amnesia), but he learned his lesson -- "From now on, murder outside the family would take place far, far away from me."
Aaron Hernandez could have used a lesson from Tony Soprano.
Over the weekend, the latest chapter in the Aaron Hernandez Murder Saga played out at Hernandez's palatial home in North Attleborough, MA when police spent Saturday afternoon combing his house for evidence and emerging with 15 bags worth of items, which would seem to indicate that life is about to get a whole lot dicier for the Patriots' tight end.
The scuttlebutt on Friday and Saturday had been that the police were preparing an arrest warrant for Hernandez for obstruction of justice, which if you're looking for historical perspective, is the same thing Ray Lewis eventually got pinched for when he
stabbed a couple people brushed up against a fatal altercation in Atlanta during Super Bowl week in 2000.
By the way, if you're looking at Lewis' incident for historical perspective and precedent for punishment by the league, you can forget it. Lewis missed no time the following season, but that was when the league was becoming the wild, wild West off the field during Paul Tagilabue's reign.
Roger Goodell is the new sheriff in town, and like Junior Soprano when he took over as boss in Season 1, he "ain't respectin' old arrangements." Ask Ben Roethlisberger.
At this point, it would seem to be a virtual lock Hernandez is going to miss, at a minimum, a portion of the 2013 season under Goodell's personal conduct policy, and if this investigation goes the wrong way for Hernandez it could end up a whole lot worse.
He could wind up suspended from society.
Which brings me to back to my initial scene setter involving Tony Soprano, Matthew Bevilaqua, and stupidity.
Tony Soprano (and yes, I know he's a fictional character, but he was real to me dammit!) was not a stupid guy. He was a vengeful mother fucker out for what he felt was justice.
Odin Lloyd, the victim in this murder mystery, was reportedly dating Hernandez's fiancé's sister. But unless there was something Odin Lloyd did to that girl that we don't know about, there was no "crime of passion" involved here.
Plain and simple, Aaron Hernandez is just a fucking idiot. So using Tony Soprano as a backdrop, let's examine all of the places that Aaron Hernandez screwed up in this thing and what Tony (the calculating, rational version of Tony, not the version that almost got sent away for the Bevilaqua hit) would have done differently:
5. This whole thing was triggered by a rental car in Hernandez's name. This whole story broke on Tuesday when an Enterprise rental car with Rhode Island plates registered to Hernandez was spotted near the scene of the body discovery (more on the location of the body in a minute). I have no idea if this was the car that Hernandez, Lloyd and the two other idiots were rolling around in on Sunday night. That's the only reason I could see a rental car being necessary, so that any cars actually belonging to Hernandez have no traces if Lloyd's DNA in them. That said, renting a car when you already own one is a little odd, and when people start getting killed, it's downright suspicious.
WWTD (What Would Tony Do): Worst case, if a rental car was deemed absolutely necessary, Tony would have either a) had someone outside the family rent it or b) absolute worst case, would have rented it under his fake credit card name "Mr. Spears."
4. The body was disposed of and found in a clearing near an industrial park a mile from Hernandez's home. Lloyd's body was reportedly discovered by a jogger in a clearing near an industrial park a mile from Hernandez's house. ONE MILE. What the hell happened that these troglodytes couldn't move the body any farther away? Did they just get tired and decide "Fuck it, dump him here. No one will notice." This is an element to this crime that is so goddamn stupid that it almost makes me think Hernandez didn't do it, because no one could be this idiotic, right? Then I look at any picture of Hernandez with his shirt off, and I realize "No, Aaron Hernandez could be this idiotic. Easily."
WWTD: Tony would have someone very low on the Soprano totem pole whom he could hold accountable drive the body far, far away from home base and bury it deep in the woods. Ask Adriana, ask Emil Kolar. Also, Tony would never subsequently refer to the dead bodies as anything other than some inanimate noun, i.e. "can of peaches."
3. Hernandez destroyed his security system and cell phone. Hernandez was obviously cognizant of the forensic trail that technology can leave behind in situations like this, so you have to give him credit for being aware of that. Of course, his solution to combat that issue was essentially taking a sledge hammer to both his security system and his cell phone, to the point where he reportedly handed the police a cell phone that was literally smashed into pieces. I mean...holy mouth breather, Batman...
WWTD: To my knowledge, Tony didn't have a security system in his house, at least not one that would record anything incriminating in the event he were to kill someone. Also, Tony was smart about using his phone to do one thing -- talk on the phone, and for as short a time as possible. There's a decent chance that Hernandez and his boys snapped pictures of themselves posing around the dead body flashing gang signs.
2. Hernandez had his house scrubbed down on Monday. I don't know what Hernandez's habits are when it comes to the cleanliness of his house. I don't know if he's OCD and it always has to be clean, or if he has a service come to his house every so often just to make sure it's relatively tidy, or if he's a goddamn slob. All I know is what's been reported -- an outside service came in the Monday after Odin Lloyd was killed and thoroughly cleaned Hernandez's house, which apparently was enough of a cleanliness outlier for Hernandez to be relevant to the case. (He is 23 years old, after all. I'm guessing that most of his spare time is not spent obsessing over how clean his crib is.)
WWTD : Tony has a housekeeper on the payroll full time, and as a result, has a sparkling clean house full time. If having a spotless, Odin Lloyd-DNA free house all the time is the rule, then the cops can't get suspicious when the house gets cleaned on a Monday.
1. Hernandez was hanging out with the victim the night he got whacked. They say keep your friends close, and your enemies closer, which is probably good advice, unless you plan on killing your enemy in cold blood the same evening you're literally keeping them closer. This is what Aaron Hernandez and his boys did. The four of them (Hernandez, his two buddies, and Lloyd) were out together Sunday night and only three returned back to Hernandez's house. "Four men go in, three men come out" is funny if you're making Thunderdome jokes, but not nearly as hilarious if you're trying to hang onto your $40 million contract to play in the NFL.
WWTD: Tony would never hang out socially with the low level commoners anyway, but he definitely wouldn't hang out with them the same night they're about to get whacked. Worst case, if he were out with them, he'd put at least a month or so in between that night and the eventual whacking just to distance himself from the actual crime. Or if there was sense of urgency over the whacking and he was with the target at any point, he'd find a way to make the eventual death look like an accident.
So now, with Rob Gronkowski having just undergone back surgery, the Patriots are facing the distinct possibility of not having either of their two elite level tight ends when the season starts.
And it's too bad because when he was asked about Hernandez's progress this offseason, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had this to say:
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"Aaron's improved a lot. He's worked hard, he's improved a lot in all phases of the game -- the passing game, the running game, protection and his overall versatility. He's doing a good job for us."
It's nice that he's stepped up his game on the field, but it may not matter.
Because Aaron Hernandez sucks at murder.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.